In one of the craziest days in UFC history, the organization has been forced to completely re-arrange the entire UFC 279 card to organize three new fights on short notice.
In a sensational twist following yesterday’s backstage brawl at the UFC 279 press conference, headline fighter and unbeaten star Khamzat Chimaev missed weight by a whopping 7.5 pounds for his main event with Nate Diaz.
Chimaev laughed and said “not that bad” as he tipped the scales at 178.5 pounds, having been forced by medical staff to stop cutting weight for health concerns.
The headline welterweight bout was subsequently scrapped. The UFC scrambled to rearrange the UFC 279 card at the last moment, and ended up organizing three new fights – announcing them five hours after the weigh-ins.
“It’s been a hell of a night and a hell of a morning here,” UFC boss Dana White began his announcement of the new card.
But, he added, “It literally couldn’t have played out any better,” given the incredible new fights organized at last minute.
Watch UFC 279: Diaz v Ferguson LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 11 September from 12pm AEST. ORDER NOW >
PRESS CONFERENCE CHAOS
‘Absolute s***show’: UFC presser abandoned as details emerge on what sparked wild backstage brawl
‘It got very physical’: UFC star kicks rival in chest, water bottles thrown as ‘crazy’ details revealed
White announced Diaz will instead fight Tony Ferguson in a five-round welterweight main event, with the popular Ferguson having been set for his 170-pound debut against Li Jingliang.
Jingliang and Ferguson successfully made weight at 170.5 and 171 pounds, respectively, while Diaz came in at 171 pounds – right on the one-pound allowance.
The UFC had been in talks for Diaz to fight former lightweight champion and #2 lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, who tweeted a picture of himself on personal scales weighing 176.6 pounds, with reports stating he had agreed to fly in for a late-notice catchweight bout .
But White instead managed to wrangle Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz into accepting a deal to fight as the headline bout.
Undefeated Chimaev will instead fight (23-7) Kevin Holland at a 180-pound catchweight, with Holland weighing in at 179.5 pounds for his slated bout against Daniel Rodriguez (already set for a 180-pound catchweight).
Chimaev and Holland have plenty of history, leading up to Chimaev push-kicking the American in the chest yesterday. The fight will be a five-round co-main event.
Chimaev was, as usual, given an extra hour to try to make weight but did not attempt it given how far off the limit he was. White stated that Chimaev had suffered from cramps due to his weight cut from him and had been ordered by a doctor not to continue cutting weight, leading to his significant miss from him.
Rodriguez will now fight Li Jingliang (also at a 180-pound catchweight), despite Rodriguez weighing over eight pounds higher at 179 pounds to Jingliang’s 170.5.
Two other fighters also missed weight, featherweight Hakeem Dawodu, who came in over the limit at 149.5 pounds, and heavyweight Chris Barnett, who missed the limit at 267.5 pounds.
Barnett becomes just the second UFC fighter ever to come in over the heavyweight limit, joining Justin Tafa.
“What a complete and total disaster,” tweeted USA Today’s Mike Bohn after Chimaev’s missed cut. “Smiling and shrugging it off does not help Khamzat’s cause here, either.”
NEW UFC 279 CARD
Nate Diaz v Tony Ferguson (welterweight)
Khamzat Chimaev v Kevin Holland (180 lb catchweight)
Li Jingliang v Daniel Rodriguez (180 lb catchweight)